We’ve been hearing for a few weeks that this year’s holiday season will be different from anything that’s happened in years past.
The pandemic changed the landscape for retailers big and small, from Amazon to local gift stores, and created the necessity not only to be nimble, but also to be able to play the long game. This means that instead of focusing exclusively on the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas for holiday sales, retailers are now in a holiday selling period that for all intents and purposes started in mid-October.
Creative retailers are finding ways to make the most of this stretched-out holiday season by starting new traditions such as Amazon’s Holiday Dash, which offers daily deals for its Prime members through the end of December.
Also, we have reported on brick-and-mortar furniture retailers, such as Miskelly in Mississippi and Hoot Judkins in California, that have taken what used to be one-day super sales and stretched them out to last for a week or more.
In fact, Google said instead of Black Friday it’s expecting a Black November, with sales from home furnishings retailers that continue through the entire month.
While we’re seeing a huge increase in online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers have a couple of advantages, with inventory in stock and ready to pick up the same day. Plus, options such as buy online/pickup in store and curbside pickup allow these retailers to give consumers the instant gratification of not having to wait for shipping.
Retailers across a number of sectors have found additional ways to take advantage of the longer holiday season:
- Personalizing communications with customers based on past purchases or what they researched while on your website.
- Allowing consumers to create wish lists so that family members and friends can be sure they are buying the correct gift.
- Creating gift list suggestions for consumers, whether it’s for the avid sports fan in your life, a favorite college student, or a new mom.
- Having eye-catching photography and immersive online experiences (such as 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality) that encourage consumers to add items to their cart or head to the store for a same-day purchase.
During a seminar at the recent High Point Market, one e-commerce entrepreneur said an advantage to the digital world is that retailers can ‘fail faster and learn faster.’ If something online isn’t working, a retailer can change and improve it very quickly.
This offers retailers and brands the option of trying out new ideas during this year’s extended holiday season while still being able to change things up as needed. Perhaps that will lead to new and successful traditions both for this holiday season and in years to come.